Every time the Carnival season approaches in Barranquilla, my family and I usually leave the city that weekend to visit neighboring cities such as Santa Marta or Cartagena, which have very beautiful and very touristy beaches. This last carnival of 2020 we decided to go a little further and visit a different city, for a change, also coastal: Tolu in the department of Sucre.
A journey of approximately four and a half hours by private car from Barranquilla to reach Tolu, located in the center of the Gulf of Morrosquillo on the Caribbean coast. (From Cartagena, it is around two hours forty-five minutes).
We stayed at the Hostal Luzmar, a fairly inexpensive hostel (during low season) close to the beach area of Tolu (Playa del Francés at eleven minutes by car) and the town square where you can find restaurants (they offer a varied gastronomy, although for being a city coastal, specialty is fish and seafood), craft stores, supermarkets, ice cream parlors, drugstores, in short, the location of the hostel was very favorable.
Walking to the beach or to the plaza allows you to have a close experience with the town of Tolu, however, the visitor always has the option of taking local transportation or renting a bike. I especially recommend taking the "bike-bus" (bici-bus), powered by pedals with capacity for small groups, but keep in mind that you will have to help the driver pedal if you decide to board it. These walk you through the town of Tolu to the sound of contemporary music.
The nightlife in Tolu attracts many tourists, both foreign and domestic. The coast is demarcated by a linear park or promenade where artisans display their products daily. This area is also occupied by restaurants and tour operators. The latter will offer you trips to the San Bernardo islands, an archipelago made up of ten coastal islands belonging to Cartagena, all located in the Gulf of Morrosquillo. Tour operators on the coast of Tolu take advantage of the proximity of the San Bernardo islands to provide the maritime transport service to the Mucura islands, Tintipan and the famous artificial islet of Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz del Islote).
Other places / attractions that you can visit:
Cienaga de la Leche
Cienaga de la Caimanera (border between Tolu and Coveñas) offer guided tours in canoes
Coveñas (30 minutes by car)
So, when choosing our next sun and beach tourist destination, let's not forget to include Tolu as an option.